The Newfoundland is a giant-sized working dog originally bred by the fishermen of the Newfoundland region. Large in appearance, these intelligent dogs are loyal, strong and calm in disposition. Some of the common physical traits of these dogs include a well-built, heavily boned, muscular body with a massive head, broad skull, dark brown, small, deep-set eyes, small, triangular ears with round tips, clean cut broad muzzle, strong, well-set neck, and a broad tail, standing straight. One of its most striking features is its webbed feet that help it swim efficiently, making it adept in life-saving and water rescue activities.
|Coat||Flat, double, water-resistant, with a coarse, long, straight or wavy outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat|
|Color||Black, grey. Beige, brown, black and tan, white and black, white and brown, white and grey|
|Group||Mountain, Working, Lifesaving, Molossers|
|Lifespan||8 to 10 years|
|Height||Males: Approximately 26 inches Female: Approximately 28 inches|
|Weight||Males: 130-150 pounds Females:100-120 pounds|
|Litter size||4 to 12 puppies|
|Behavioral traits||Loyal, docile, calm, intelligent, mild tempered|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Barking tendency||Moderate ( they may either bark a lot or not bark at all)|
|Climate compatibility||Preferably cool climate though he may adapt himself to warmer conditions too|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||FCI, ANKC, CKC, AKC, UKC, NZKC, KC (UK)|
|Country||Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador regions)|
They have an ancient origin with their lineage linked with Molossers and Mastiffs like English Mastiff and St. Bernard in terms of their large head, sturdy built and massive body stature.
Originating in the Newfoundland region they were said to be a trusted companion of the fishermen since these dogs were extremely efficient in water. A lot of theories have circulated regarding their origination.
The first notion is that these dogs were a result of crossing the Tibetan Mastiff with the American Black Wolf that is extinct at present. Another notion is that when the Vikings went to the New World they did not take their dogs along, instead interbred them to the wolves indigenous to Eastern Canada, the result being the mighty Newfoundland. The third logic is that these dogs were a result of the crosses of a whole lot of breeds like the Portuguese Water Dog, Pyrenean Sheepdogs and also the Mastiffs.
They were a known breed in the latter half of the 18th century and a famous English botanist named Joseph Banks had many Newfoundlands in his possession. However, by the 1780s their population was at stake as the Canadian government had imposed taxes on dogs being petted. The credit goes to Sir Edwin Landseer for popularizing these dogs through his paintings.
The black and white kinds as shown in his artwork were often called Landseer to honor Sir Edward, however, they are not to be confused with the Landseer Newfoundland which is a different breed altogether. These beloved breeds have been highly loyal to mankind, one striking example of the same being an incident when a Newfoundland named Seaman had accompanied Lewis and Clarke to the famous trekking expedition and was reputed for his hunting as well as guarding skills. He even saved a lot of lives when a bull had attacked the camp where the group was housed. Honoring his great efforts, Seaman’s depiction appears in about 10 monuments featuring Lewis and Clark in various parts of the United State of America. Its popularity spread not just in America but also worldwide and the AKC acknowledged it in 1879. Though no longer used for seafaring tasks like before, they are considered as great rescue dogs and used for this purpose worldwide.
They are reputed for their calm, sweet and loyal disposition, often earning them the title of a “gentle giant” or “teddy bear”.
They are a perfect family dog, detesting to be left alone for prolonged periods.
Though friendly towards visitors, they are possessive about their family and on sensing a danger they would come in between their master as well as the owner to defend their household. This breed is protective and watchful, with owners mentioning on how they have been alerted during a fire and even rescued from their own swimming pool on encountering a crisis.
They get along well with children and their caring nature towards the little ones makes them perfect “nanny” dogs. However, if there are very small kids living at home supervision is needed during their interaction with the Newfie, as these large dogs could knock down the kids even in pursuit of play.
They share a comfortable rapport with dogs, cats and even smaller pets especially when brought up with them. Though great apartment dogs, they would also get along well in homes with a big yard.
They have moderate exercise needs, however, sufficient physical workout is needed to keep them physically and mentally energized else they may turn couch potatoes. A daily walk for about 20 to 30 minutes, alongside a run in the yard, would be sufficient in keeping them fit. Keeping their swimming skills in mind, you could also give them some time in the water. They love pulling carts and besides that, the Newfies would be a perfect companion for a walking or hiking spree. They would excel in a host of sports and activities like herding, agility, flyball obedience, tracking, and rally.
Being a moderate shedder, its thick, flat, water resistant coat requires to be brushed twice or thrice a week using a long toothed comb teamed with a slicker brush. This would help in dead hair removal apart from minimizing the formation of mats and tangles. However, during the shedding season that occurs two times in a year the brushing should be done on a daily basis. Bathe it once or twice in a month, or whenever it gets dirty. Check its ears weekly for bad smell and redness alongside cleaning it with a damp cotton ball, dipped in a vet-approved ear cleaning solution. Your Newfie’s eyes must also be checked from time to time for redness, irritation and inflammation. Brushing its teeth on a bi or tri-weekly basis is also essential to ward of tartar or plaque buildup. Also make it a point to trim its nails on a routine basis.
Some of the health issues faced by this breed include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and gastric torsion, eye problems like cherry eye, and cataract, Addison’s disease (endocrine disorder) as well as cystinuria (metabolic disorder).
Though gentle the Newfoundland dog has a mind of its own with a firm, strong trainer needed to handle it in a firm yet tactful manner.
Socialization: The Newfoundland dog is social and courteous; still it is essential to acquaint it with a whole lot of experiences, the good and the bad so that it may be able to identify a friend from a foe and act appropriately in times of a crisis.
Obedience: Teach it to follow commands like “Stop”, “No” and “Quiet” so that it turns into a disciplined canine.
The National Research Council of the National Academies is of the opinion that an adult Newfoundland having a weight of about 130 pounds needs 2685 kcalories on a daily basis. The puppies are said to have a great appetite and eat a lot, which however lessens by the time they grow up. Some of the preferable dog foods suited for this breed include Fromm Large Breed Adult Gold and Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food. You may even combine the readymade dog food with a homemade diet, though after the consultation with a vet. A Newfoundland puppy requires about 8% fat and 22% protein; adults would need 18% protein and 5% fat, whereas seniors would need a much lesser percentage of fat and protein as they have a slow metabolism and overfeeding could lead to digestion problems.